Health Inequalities

Health Inequalities

Health inequalities are avoidable, unfair, and systematic differences in health between different groups of people. There are many kinds of health inequality, and many ways in which the term is used. This means that when we talk about ‘health inequality’, it is useful to be clear on which measure is unequally distributed, and between which people.

Health inequalities ultimately relate to differences in the status of people’s health, but the term is also used to refer to differences in the care that people receive and the opportunities they have to lead healthy lives – both of which can contribute to their health status. Health inequalities can therefore involve differences in:

  • health status (for example: life expectancy)
  • knowledge and awareness of unhealthy behaviours, available care and treatment
  • access to care (for example: availability of given services)
  • quality and experience of care (for example: levels of patient satisfaction)
  • behavioural risks to health (for example: smoking rates)
  • wider determinants of health (for example: quality of housing).

The King’s Fund have created a webpage to help people understand what health inequalities are:

What are health inequalities? (The King’s Fund)

Addressing and reducing Health inequalities is a key priority for our Surrey Health and Wellbeing Board which includes a range of partners including Surrey County Council, the Surrey Borough and District Councils, Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System, Surrey Police, and our associated public and voluntary sector partner organisations and community groups. The Surrey Health and Wellbeing Strategy is a good starting point for information on the coordinated activities that are underway to achieve this aim and provides a helpful partnership focus on priority populations which includes communities of identity and geography which are often overlooked and currently most at risk of experiencing poor health outcomes.

There is therefore an increasing appetite for data and information resources that help describe the range and scale of health inequalities in the county, and some key links to useful health inequalities datasets, reports and resources are given below:

Local Authority Health Profiles: Fingertips Public Health Data (Office for Health Improvement and Disparities)

Surrey   View data View reports
Elmbridge Borough Council View data View reports
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council View data View reports
Guildford Borough Council View data View reports
Mole Valley District Council View data View reports
Reigate and Banstead Borough Council View data View reports
Runnymede Borough Council View data View reports
Spelthorne Borough Council View data View reports
Surrey Heath Borough Council View data View reports
Tandridge District Council View data View reports
Waverley Borough Council View data View reports
Woking Borough Council View data View reports

**These resources will be kept under review and this page further revised as necessary**

Resource Access link Purpose Areas covered
Surrey Index – Surrey-i Publicly available Highlights areas of Surrey that perform well or poorly against various outcomes. LCN, PCN, Ward
JSNA: Surrey Context (Intro and demographics chapter) Publicly available High level overview of Surrey’s population and demographics Range: lowest possible geography available
Fingertips Local Inequalities Explorer Tool 2023 Publicly available To support decision making by demonstrating local, within-area, inequalities. Ward, Integrated Care Board
Fingertips Public Health Data – Wider determinants of Health Publicly available Provides intelligence regarding the wider determinants of health  
National Health Inequalities Improvement Dashboard (HIID)  Requires registration to access Focus on the 5 urgent actions and CORE20 PLUS 5  Integrated Care Partnership / Sustainability & Transformation Partnerships (ICS/STP), NHS Regions 
Wider Impacts of COVID-19 on Health (WICH)  Publicly available Interactive web tool on wider impacts of COVID  WICH comprises both a National monitoring tool and a local Fingertips profile.
COVID-19 Health Inequalities Monitoring in England Tool (CHIME)  Publicly available To bring together data relating to the impacts of COVID-19 on inequalities  England and English regions 
Surrey Health and Wellbeing Index (In development) Publicly available Provides the data on selected HWB metrics  Available from September 2023. Data down to ward level and by some priority populations (availability depends on the indicators and data collected)
PHE Segment Tool   Publicly available Present causes of death and age groups driving life expectancy gap. England, regions, local authorities, NHS regions, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships 
Global Burden of Disease Publicly available    
Surrey Health and Wellbeing Strategy dashboard Publicly available Provides the data on selected HWB metrics data down to ward level – availability depends on the indicators
Atlas of variation Publicly available Helps to identify variation and assess the value that healthcare provides to both populations and individuals.